Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh and his bunch of sea-faring men brought potatoes to England from the New World, they have been used in many dishes all over Europe. French fries, potato chips and mashed potatoes have become part of our daily diet thanks to them.
Since we will be talking about mashed potatoes, lets take a look at the history of this simple but important recipe. Mashed potatoes were first prepared by Frenchman, Antoine Parmentier. He had a potato farm that was even guarded by royal troops guard. But it seems that this guards didn’t take their job to seriously and peasants managed to steal them. This is how potatoes and mased potatoes entered French cooking.
There are many variations of mashed potatoes recipe around the world. Some like it plain; others add cheese, bacon bits and even wasabi. The French add egg yolk and style them la Parmentier’ in a homage to the man who brought the spuds to them. In England, there are still traditional-style shops selling ‘bangers and mash’ and ‘pies and mash’, favorites among the working class. Aside from that, mashed potatoes are added in shepherd’s pie, Colcannon and potato croquette.
If you want to make mashed potatoes you will need:
– one cup of heavy cream or half-half
– half cup of butter (salted)
– salt for seasoning and
– six potatoes (not to big, not to small)
Tip number one – what kind of potatoes to use? Use Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes because they give the best texture to the recipe. Red potatoes are also very good.
Next we need to peel the potatoes and wash them. A little secret here is that if you want to make the recipe a bit rustic you can leave some the skin on the potatoes. They will be harder to mash later but the end result will be special.
Now for the next secret – cut your potatoes and make big pieces. Big pieces will absorb less water and will make beter mashed potatoes. Next tip – cover them with cold water. Then bring them to boil and let them simmer for around 20 minutes. If you can stick a knife in them without problems they are done.
When the potatoes are cooked drain all the water and return them back on low heat so all the water evaporates. Make sure you don’t burn them. Now is also the time to heat the cream and melt the butter. You can do this in one sauce pan. When all the water evaporated mash the potatoes. You can decide you smooth or lumpy do you want them to be. But I suggest you do not use electric mixers since they will overmix the potatoes and ruin the texture.
When the potatoes are mashed mix in the butter and cream. You can do this also beofre you mash the potatoes, I don’t think it makes much of a difference. Now is also the time to add some other ingreedients if you want. Just use your imagination or find some recipe ideas that will help you.
To finish this recipe one more thing about potatoes. They do not only make a tasty dish, they are also good for your health. How? They can improve your glucose tolerance and protect you against colon cancer.
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